Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Grace Scandal: Grace Because Your Life Depends on It

Galatians 5:2-6
Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

In the OT it was a requirement for all men within the Israelite community to be circumcised. Jesus was circumcised and Paul was too. The issue is not with circumcision but with what following religion leads too. it leads to being alienated from Jesus. The greatest threat to grace-living is religion-honoring.

We don't look at grace-living as a life or death issue but it really is. Once I allow religion to start playing a role in my relationship with God I begin to feel that I don't need His grace. I start looking at my goodness like the Pharisees. When I live as though I don't need God's grace I take God out of my worship, my prayer life, the intent of my reading and understanding Scripture.

People that are religion focused point out the faults in others without remembering that they need, and still need, God's grace. The grace we've received is not a badge to wear to show how holy we are. If anything grace does quite the opposite it points out that I am like everyone else; in need of a Savior.

Hebrew 12:4
In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

I don't know anyone who has ever hated their own sin to the point that they were willing to shed their own blood for it. In the OT countless animals were killed for mankind's mistakes. Then Jesus the perfect Son of God came as the last and final sacrifice so that we could live. Still we have yet to shed our own. It is so easy to point out the sin in others and ignore the secret battle raging inside one's own soul.

What Jesus did so long ago was to shatter religions death grip on humanity. You can read of His criticism towards the religious leaders and teachers of His day in Matthew 23. One of my favorite, if I can call it that, is this verse.

Matthew 23:15
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

They made people fear their religious power rather than let them experience the redemptive freedom of God's grace.

When dying on the cross Jesus completed God's plan to have a personal relationship with His creation that He had missed since Adam and Eve.

Matthew 27:50-51
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.

God is tired of religious hearts. He doesn't need any more bad press. God was tired of playing hide and seek with His children. He could now make Himself known to each one who sought after Him.

God wants people to realize that they can accomplish nothing outside of His grace and freely live as though their life depended on it.

Every part of your life needs to be dependent on God's grace. Without it your life in Christ will fade to just religion.

1 comment:

J. Lopez said...

A lot of time we have difficulty accepting grace and our default setting is religion. As long as i feel like i am doing something to merit my salvation, I feel justified. It's faith in my own works instead of on The Cross of Jesus! It's despicable! Where would we be without His grace?! Great post, man!